First Post and a Question


New Member
Searching for clench nailing information I came across this site. Now registered I would like to extend greetings to all, to introduce myself and ask a basic question or two.

As a child I spent my summers in Ontario by a small lake off Georgian Bay. The family cottage, now my sister's property, originally had five boats: three canoes, a rowing skiff and a small motor runabout. The runabout, the skiff and one of the canoes were all Peterborough cedar-strip construction. All but the cedar canoe are now gone - lost to neglect.

Last winter I rescued the cedar-strip canoe which had spent a couple of years outside on the ground (after the boathouse collapsed) and I am now in the process of refinishing it. Nicknamed "the war canoe" because it was larger and longer than the other canoes, with three seats and provision for a small mast, this is classic Peterborough cedar-strip construction.

This brings me to my questions: Does anyone know the proper size (length, diameter) for the clench nails used in this hull? Can anyone recommend a sealant, such as 3M's 5200, that would seal the cracks and gaps in the planking? In the old days the boat would just sit in the water until it "swelled up" but I don't think that's advisable now.

Thank you for your suggestions. Pictures attached.



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Paul Nelson

Curious about Wooden Canoes
I work on my boats with the shop humidity above 60%, then lower it to the low 50s and put on 7 coats of varnish inside and out. This is what Epiphanes says in its' directions. The last boat I did had some decent size gaps, and the varnish filled them pretty well. it didn't leak a drop. I think Peterborough used to recommend using a small thread of cotton caulking in large open seams to help the varnish fill them without running out. It's a lot of work, so you might want to experiment with the 5200. It's amazing stuff. Not sure how long it would last with shrink swell cycles though. I would resist fiberglassing the bottom. They say it makes the boat rot from the inside.


You will be looking for copper 16g x 3/4" tacks. Unlike the typical canoe tacks, these are round. They are clinched after they have been passed through the planking and rib.
Here is a related thread that might provide you with a few places to start your search. Copper planking tacks | WCHA Forums
Canadian Tack and Nail was a go to source...they shut down their storefront.